What does it take to provoke Martin Sheen's ire? At University College Dublin, Ireland's largest university, the students are finding out.
Last February, the Hollywood actor accepted an invitation to speak at UCD's student Law Society, known as LawSoc. He was there to launch an initiative for humanitarian charity The People's Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (PREDA) - or so he thought. Now, in a scathing email, Janet Templeton, the actor's wife of 40 years, has accused LawSoc of bringing her husband to the university under false pretences and failing to honour their charitable commitment.
Sheen's appearance, wrote Templeton, was based on the condition that the Law Society would create a national charitable fund for PREDA. She added that this was "a big part of Martin's reason to accept [the invitation], if not all of his reason."
Templeton's email, sent to the former captain of LawSoc, Mr. Kieran McGrath, on July 1, and published in last week's UCD's College Tribune newspaper, said that she "was heavily involved in the lengthy process of having Martin, my husband, available to [appear at the February event] some months ago. During that [sic] negotiations, some promises were made. Those promises were not kept. We were told that a human rights advocacy group to help victims of torture and human rights violations would be set up by your Law Society. According to [our contact] nothing was honoured." Templeton's emails are written entirely in capital letters.
In the same email, Templeton turned down an invitation from LawSoc on behalf of her son, actor Emilio Estevez, to speak at a seperate event planned for this year. Caustically, she advised the society "not to promise anything you cannot deliver."
The leaked correspondence gives an interesting insight into Martin and Janet's response to the very public breakdown of their son, actor Charlie Sheen. At the time, the Sheens insisted that the event be closed to the media, despite the college's wish to gain maximum publicity for the event.
Irish priest Father Shay Cullen, a family friend of the Sheens who was involved in organising the event, explained to LawSoc in more leaked correspondence that "it's just because if open to media they will go after him over [his son] Charlie", who was in the midst of a highly publicised addiction battle. "It's tough on Martin," he added. Father Cullen added that the Sheens were "very sensitive to any media surrounding Charlie, that it might take away from the positive publicity of the newly released movie, The Way."
The former leader of LawSoc, Kieran McGrath, could not be reached for comment. In an unusual intervention, the university authorities this week ordered LawSoc to fulfil any commitments to Human Rights Advocacy made to Martin Sheen. They have agreed to this, stating that the society has now developed contacts with a human rights organisation based in the Phillipines, and as a result will be assisting with various unspecified initiatives, "including a debate."
It's not the first time that LawSoc has irked a Hollywood celebrity. Last September, McCarthy apologised to Mystic River and The Shawshank Redemption star Tim Robbins and his management team after admitting that the actor knew nothing about a sold-out event in UCD, in which he billed as the star attraction. Robbins said he had never been contacted.
Martin Sheen, who holds Irish citizenship, has been the subject of a recent Facebook campaign urging him to run for President of Ireland.